What criteria should you look for when choosing a hypnotherapist?
First, find out if the hypnotherapist is certified by a professional hypnotherapy association independent from where they learned hypnosis. That means if there are any unresolved complaints about their practice, they can be held accountable and not be re-certified. You can also contact the association to learn if the hypnotherapist has a history of complaints. Beware of bait and switch! If the hypnotherapist practices other modalities, such as Reiki, Tarot, massage, or psychic readings or psychotherapy, chances are you are going to get a “watered down” version of hypnosis, rather than what you might get with a practitioner who specializes solely in hypnotherapy.
Second, only choose a hypnotherapist who provides a free, in-person consultation to insure you are comfortable not only with their voice, which you may have heard over the phone, but also with their office, demeanor, and professionalism. Since all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, how you feel in their presence and office will have a significant impact on your outcome. Is the chair comfortable? Is the office quiet and private? You probably will not be able to determine that with just a 10 minute phone consultation.
Third, find out if they do hypnotic testing. Describing hypnosis over the phone is like describing an apple. Sure, you might get an idea about what an apple is by association, but you will only know what an apple truly is by experiencing it first hand. With hypnotic testing, you will have a better understanding of hypnosis and how it can work for you.
Fourth, ask whether their hypnotherapy practice is set up as an ongoing, open-ended process or do they provide a set number of sessions per issue. Often the price will reflect this. A low session-by-session price may indicate that they are set up for a long-term process, like in psychotherapy, which is great for the hypnotherapist, but may be unnecessary for you.
Fifth, and most important, find out if instruction and techniques of self-hypnosis is included. Do they record the session, provide reinforcement records, or is there an extra cost for that? Reinforcement of your desired behavioral change is paramount and best done at home where you want the results, not in their office. Otherwise, you will be paying full price for a reinforcement session that would be more empowering for you to learn how to do on your own.